Ma, you did the time too

Posted: 29th January 2016 by Texas Magnum in About Prisons, Inside, Reflections
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I was reflecting on some of the site regulars, and how in general they were mothers, wives and girlfriends. There are some fathers, and siblings, and a few children of those incarcerated. And there are comments from those who have done time, or worked in corrections, and folks with addiction problems. But most of who visits here are the women left behind – the mothers, wives and girlfriends.

When I got locked up I had a lot of emotions to deal with. I was angry, first and foremost. And I had some fear, naturally. I also had a lot of guilt and shame, especially at that first visit when my mother came to see me in County. I felt so shitty. Like a real turd, that is all there is to it. And I was also very damn glad to see her. A lifeline! Thrown to me in the very dark hole I was residing in.

I think I can speak for the majority of the incarcerated when I say having your mother, your wife, or your girlfriend stick by you while you do time is very appreciated. And probably not acknowledged as much as it should be. When you go down you find out pretty fast that most of your so-called friends are nowhere to be found. Even a lot of family becomes scarce. Face it, it’s not that fun to visit someone in prison, the whole experience is crappy. And writing letters to someone who basically has NO news to share with you and nothing going on is not very gratifying either. Sending funds to someone because they are a dumbass and got locked up doesn’t usually feel like a good use of money but boy is it appreciated.

I am pretty sure when I went to prison my mother was about as nervous and scared about what I was going to face there as I was. In fact, I guess she might have been more scared and nervous. Yeah, I think she was. I knew I could handle it, one way or the other, but for her it was probably agony. I was lucky that some guys told me the real rundown of what to expect and I was sure to tell her as much as I knew, so she kind of knew what was going to happen. And, I had one of my cell mates all set to call her when they picked me up so she would know I was on my way without waiting for her to find out randomly.

The main question we receive here is “my son/husband/boyfriend just transferred from County to TDC. How do I know he’s OK? How do I find him?” I hear the fear in those questions every time I read them. I know they are looking into the unknown and expecting it to be pretty bad, all the way around.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t get said much. Your parent is left on the outside to explain to family, friends, and everyone else where you are. Why you are there. They can choose to cover it up or just own it, but either way folks judge. My mother told me that right when I went away, a lot of her coworkers in her age-group had children who were graduating college and starting their careers, and how she chose to just stay quiet because bragging on your son’s newest prison tattoo just isn’t so cool.

I’ve noticed that some of the mothers who are regulars here have gotten the prison lingo down pretty well. Catching chain, making commissary, short way – these are all terms that a mother shouldn’t need to be knowing. That’s just messed up. But it is a fact.

I’m sorry Ma, i wish I could undo that part of things. I don’t regret much in life, definitely don’t regret that I did time. It’s part of who I am. But I wish I hadn’t had to take you down with me. And I appreciate that you went through that went me. I really do. Thanks for doing the time with me. It made it a little easier to know you were there.


  1. cmartinez says:

    So, is there any way to know when you’re loved one will catch chain and be brought to TDC and where they are once they get dropped off?

  2. Yessenia says:

    You know, it’s crazy. I read this as I was looking to see if there was ANY way to find out where my boyfriend was. You’re completely right. This isn’t a time to that anyone would like to go through. But I honestly admire the way you have stood up, and have taken it as a man and just continued going. Many let this get to them, and just keep them chained to the ground. Yes, consequences are something We ALL deal with at some point in time. And many just wish people would feel pity for them. But the way you actually acknowledged the way your mother could of left you, and never did is what warms my heart the most. Many people are so ungrateful and forget that no only did they do the time, but so did they. Specially while being in a relationship and being faithful . They don’t see that not only have they put their life on pause. I always wonder what it will be like when he’s out.. If all this will be worth it. But I don’t doubt one bit, that I love him. I wished I could say to not let all of the others opinions get to you, but I know some day they will. I just pray that you are strong enough to keep going and that you still make something out of your situation. Take care!

  3. Rose says:

    Ahhhh Magnum…made me cry…read it to my son and made him cry…its hard…hard on our babies and yea hard on us. There was a time when an argument came out and my daughterinlaws mother said you don’t know what shes going thru…I said youre right I don’t, but yall don’t know what Im going thru. The anxiety attack that hit me so hard the night my baby, MY BABY, caught chain and all I could think was omg my baby is going to PRISON…what did I do wrong…how did we end up here? Its hard on all of us…but and this is a big BUT, while I hated every minute of this last year I am also so very thankful, for the growth and the change and the realized priorities…things that might not of happened as soon if not for the time served. Sometimes we need a wake up call…now because of the last year my son is the man I knew he could be just as Im very sure you are the son your mom knew you could be. Life can suck at times but Im a firm believer that ALL things work together for the good…it don’t feel good while its happening but good does come out of it. Im believing the same growth and change will come for my other son who is in county for the next few months…somehow we get thru it all and we grow closer and stronger and wiser and then we can help someone else. I so appreciate your blog…I am so thankful to have found you when I was in such a bad/sad place…you helped me greatly and I just love you for that! You keep on keeping on Magnum…youre an awesome guy! PS learning lingo, writing letters, sending money…to me its a natural thing and moms are gonna do what they can to make life a little easier on their kids…not saying I would feel that way if things were habitual, I think Id be pretty pissed off lol but for that first time down and that learning curve its just a mom thing!